For the first time in over 40 years, the NFL will increase the length of the regular season. But with a 17th game added on to every team’s schedule, how will the league determine the extra matchups?
The formula is a bit complicated to hear at first. Essentially, each game is between two inter-conference teams who played two years prior and finished in the same spot in their own division just one year prior. For example, the AFC North played the NFC West two years ago in 2019, and the fourth-place teams in those divisions in 2020 were the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Francisco 49ers.
So that’s the Bengals’ extra game this year: a home game vs. the 49ers. It appears that the AFC teams will get to play at home this year, so the NFC will get them next year, and so on.
That 2019 matchup against the 49ers was the first home game of the Zac Taylor era. Little did we know that 49ers team was just beginning a run to the Super Bowl, and they thrashed the Bengals 41-17 in Paul Brown Stadium. There’s obviously more history between these two franchises, but we don’t have to bring that all up.
The 49ers recently mortgaged their future to an unknown quarterback in this year’s NFL draft; trading up nine spots and giving up two future first-round picks in return. That quarterback may not even play in this game at Cincinnati, but it’ll be a story to watch going forward.
What do you think of the Bengals playing an extra game against an NFC foe? Let us know in the comments section!